Florida Sen. Oscar Braynon, who represents the Miami Gardens district where Trayvon Martin's mother lives, is calling for legislative hearings into the Stand Your Ground law implicated in the shooting death of the 17-year-old child in Sanford last month.
The law, passed in 2005, expands the rights of people to use deadly force in public if they feel threatened during a confrontation. If a shooter such as George Zimmerman invokes the law, and no witnesses can dispute his claim of feeling threatened, police are all but forbidden from arresting him (background on the law here).
Braynon says that's a problem.
"The Legislature needs to take a look at Stand Your Ground," Braynon told The Miami Herald. "This is a perfect case of where it goes awry. This could only be the beginning of more problems down the road. It has unintended consequences. When the Legislature passed this in 2005, I don't think they planned for people who would go out and become vigilantes or be like some weird Batman who would go out and kill little kids like Trayvon."
The shooting has gripped the national news media's attention. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to examine the case. The Department of Justice and FBI are investigating as well. (That story here)
Braynon said he's drafting a letter to incoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz to ask for legislative hearings into the law, how it's worked and how to improvem or scrap it. Braynon, an African-American legislator, also plans to ask the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators to unite behind his call for hearings.
"As we see, this law could disproportionately affect the African American population," Braynon said. "We know how racial profiling goes. If you feel intimidated by someone, you can pull a gun on someone and shoot them? That's not the kind of law we need."
Update: Here's the letter he just sent Download Braynon